Seasonal and Diel Vocalization Patterns of Antarctic Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia) in the Southern Indian Ocean: A Multi-Year and Multi-Site Study. Academic Article uri icon


  • Passive acoustic monitoring is an efficient way to provide insights on the ecology of large whales. This approach allows for long-term and species-specific monitoring over large areas. In this study, we examined six years (2010 to 2015) of continuous acoustic recordings at up to seven different locations in the Central and Southern Indian Basin to assess the peak periods of presence, seasonality and migration movements of Antarctic blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia). An automated method is used to detect the Antarctic blue whale stereotyped call, known as Z-call. Detection results are analyzed in terms of distribution, seasonal presence and diel pattern of emission at each site. Z-calls are detected year-round at each site, except for one located in the equatorial Indian Ocean, and display highly seasonal distribution. This seasonality is stable across years for every site, but varies between sites. Z-calls are mainly detected during autumn and spring at the subantarctic locations, suggesting that these sites are on the Antarctic blue whale migration routes, and mostly during winter at the subtropical sites. In addition to these seasonal trends, there is a significant diel pattern in Z-call emission, with more Z-calls in daytime than in nighttime. This diel pattern may be related to the blue whale feeding ecology.

publication date

  • 2016